God Expands Our Freedom

Note:  I am indebted most every day to Richard Rohr.  His work with men and spirituality is true and therefore useful.  I commend his work to you. JWS

“St. Paul says that God both initiates and cooperates in all human growth. God “works together with” us (Romans 8:28 [1]), which means both our workings are crucial. Every moment, God is trying to expand our freedom. Can you imagine that?
ImageGod is trying to make this choice more alive, more vital, more clear, more true. God even uses our mistakes and our sin in that regard.  Nothing at all is wasted. If that is not the providence of God, what else would be “providential”?  The provident care of God is that God is working for our wholeness and for our full liberation—probably more than we are”
 Richard Rohr

Adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 187, day 200

January 26, 2009

National Baptist Evangelical Life and Soul Sav...

National Baptist Evangelical Life and Soul Saving Assembly of the U.S.A. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The journey is easier at the beginning and the end than the middle when we are far from home and home. As I approach old age I find it hard to remember a time when ministry did not inhabit a large space in my inner life.  I was baptized at eight scared into the Kingdom at a Baptist revival. But that was only the outer thing, the thing that hooked my fear and plunged me into the fishpond at the White place almost fifty years ago.  It was at the same farm that as a three year old I sat in great-aunt Myrtie’s lap on the bank of Anderson creek as my parents were baptized down in the pool formed by a gravel bank.

 Thought some might doubt it, I remember it clearly. Like a scene from a movie people were standing and sitting by the water. The grass was green in the way it is in the South before being scorched by the August Sun.  Folk went down into the water lost and came up found. I’ve learned since then that found takes a long time. The pilgrimage to God is rarely dramatic it is mostly as an old timer in AA says, “the inevitability of gradualness.”

This was before the Baptist got “baptisteries” those walk-in bathtub artificial kind of “improvements” that keep us from nature and perhaps [they are unnatural which mates poorly with the] super-natural as well.  However well intended these innovations are, what is gained in convenience is lost in affect. There is something about inconvenience that is comforting in its discomfort.  Coming to God is not convenient.

I read today in Anglicans on line that a group of clergy, God help us, are bringing a resolution before the Synod of the Church of England that Easter be fixed on the same Sunday every year.  This is about as foolish a proposition as I’ve heard.  We will convenience ourselves into nothing at all. C. S. Lewis once said that “the Gospel can be of no concern. The Gospel can be of ultimate concern. The Gospel can never be of moderate concern.”  The convenience of moderation has the affect of warm water it is wet but not refreshing.

We cover the cross with so many layers that it is obscured from the casual observer. JWS

Tradition is th…


Holy Spirit 27

Holy Spirit 27 (Photo credit: Waiting For The Word)

Tradition is the action of the Holy Spirit making available the past in a new idiom and time.

Richard Valentasis

 St George & the Dragon  - 15th C. tempera on wood
St George & the Dragon – 15th C. tempera on wood

“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.”

G K Chesterton,

The Bible in Fifty Words

God made
Adam bit
Noah arked
Abraham split
Jacob fooled
Joseph ruled
Bush talked
Pharaoh plagued
Sea divided
Tablets guided
Promise landed
Judges led
Saul freaked
David peeked
Kingdom divided
Prophets warned
People exiled
Hope rose
Jesus born
God walked
Anger crucified
Love rose
Spirit flamed
Word spread
God remained.

–Examples of Virtues or Values:

  • Autonomy: the duty to maximize the individual’s right to make his or her own decisions.
  • Beneficence: the duty to do good both individually and for all.
  • Confidentiality: the duty to respect privacy of information and action.
  • Equality: the duty to view all people as moral equals.
  • Finality: the duty to take action that may override the demands of law, religion, and social customs.
  • Justice: the duty to treat all fairly, distributing the risks and benefits equally.
  • Nonmaleficence: the duty to cause no harm, both individually and for all.
  • Understanding/Tolerance: the duty to understand and to accept other viewpoints if reason dictates doing so is warranted.
  • Publicity: the duty to take actions based on ethical standards that must be known and recognized by all who are involved.
  • Respect for persons: the duty to honor others, their rights, and their responsibilities. Showing respect others implies that we do not treat them as a mere means to our end.
  • Universality: the duty to take actions that hold for everyone, regardless of time, place, or people involved.
  • Veracity: the duty to tell the truth.

Bless My Enemies O Lord

Bp. Nikolai Velimirovich was a Serbian bishop in the last century who spoke out courageously against Nazism until he was arrested and taken to Dachau.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Enemies have driven me into your embrace more than friends have.

Friends have bound me to earth, enemies have loosed me from earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world.

Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world. Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath your tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

  • They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world.
  • They have punished me, whenever I have hesitated to punish myself.
  • They have tormented me, whenever I have tried to flee torments.
  • They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself.
  • They have spat upon me, whenever I have filled myself with arrogance.

Bless my enemies, O Lord, Even I bless them and do not curse them.

  • Whenever I have made myself wise, they have called me foolish.
  • Whenever I have made myself mighty, they have mocked me as though I were a dwarf.
  • Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they have shoved me into the background.
  • Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, they have prevented me with an iron hand.
  • Whenever I thought that I would sleep peacefully, they have wakened me from sleep.
  • Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long and tranquil life, they have demolished it and driven me out.
  • Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world and have stretched out my hands to the hem of your garment.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.


Bless them and multiply them; multiply them and make them even more bitterly against me:

  • so that my fleeing to You may have no return;
  • so that all hope in men may be scattered like cobwebs;
  • so that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my soul;
  • so that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins, arrogance and anger;
  • so that I might amass all my treasure in heaven;

Ah, so that I may for once be freed from self-deception, which has entangled me in the dreadful web of illusory life.

Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows, that a person has no enemies in the world except himself.

One hates his enemies only when he fails to realize that they are not enemies, but cruel friends.

It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or enemies.


Therefore bless, O Lord, both my friends and enemies.

  • A slave curses enemies, for he does not understand. But a son blesses them, for he understands.
  • For a son knows that his enemies cannot touch his life.
  • Therefore he freely steps among them and prays to God for them.

From Prayers by the Lake by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich, published by the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of New Gracanica, 1999. This article can be found on the Regeneration website.